How do children learn to feel connected to their communities and know they can make a difference in the world? The answer isn't as complex as it might seem.
Like many college students who grew up to become civically-engaged, Danielle talked about developing compassion at a young age. When her father took her to visit nursing homes as a child, Danielle said, "I could see how much people were hurting there and how they appreciated our presence. Learning compassion for people I didn't know is something that's stuck with me."
Developing compassion in elementary and middle school-aged children is akin to developing muscle strength. The more you use your muscles, the stronger they get.
Children who participate in programs that teach kindness, empathy, and compassion and who have families that reinforce those strengths at home develop the muscles they need to become civically-engaged adolescents and adults.
During the teen years, they reach deep within themselves, access these muscles, and develop social and civic identities that last a lifetime.
Regarded as one of the greatest human virtues by all major religious traditions, compassion is an emotional response and attitude toward others that is deeply empathetic. It enables us to connect to human suffering with care and understanding, acting in ways that brings comfort to those around us.
Compassion causes us to remain charitable, even if others behave negatively. Research shows that compassion plays a key role in helping children develop into engaged, caring, and optimistic adults.
Children Can Make a Mark in the World!
Today's post comes from Marilyn Price-Mitchell, PhD, a developmental psychologist, educator, researcher, writer and speaker who is passionate about helping young people and organizations achieve their highest potential and maximize outcomes for the public good.